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HTF REVIEW: "I Love Lucy" Season One: Volumes 3 & 4 (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I LOVE LUCY: SEASON ONE, VOLUMES 3 & 4





    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 1951
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 98 min/104 min
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (as broadcast)
    Subtitles: None



    If anyone asked you what the greatest television
    program of all time was, you would find it hard
    pressed not to mention I Love Lucy as one
    of the top three. I Love Lucy is considered
    to be the most prestigious, far-reaching and
    beloved program ever created in the history of
    entertainment television. Premiering on the CBS
    network in 1951, it introduced television audiences
    to the whacky redhead Lucille Ball and her Cuban
    nightclub singing husband, Desi Arnaz. The show
    lasted six seasons and 179 episodes, all of which
    have become timeless as they are still shown in
    syndication in dozens of different languages all
    over the world.
    Paramount Home Video began releasing episodes
    of the series to DVD back in July. They opted
    to take the route of not releasing these episodes
    in full season sets, but rather as smaller
    4-episode DVD editions. I think the idea was that
    since everyone has their particular favorite set of
    episodes, consumers would be more likely to pick
    up one or two lower-priced compilations that contain
    their favorite episode rather than splurging on a
    more expensive season set.
    Though I don't particularly mind Paramount's
    strategy here, I am a little concerned that it
    will take almost 45 separate DVD releases to cover
    all 179 episodes. The studio thus far is putting
    a 3-month window between every 2 DVD sets. At 32
    episodes (8 DVDs) per year, we may be waiting for
    more than 5 years to see every episode released --
    that is, unless the studio has plans to pick up
    the pace with these releases.
    Let's take a look at Paramount's latest set
    of I Love Lucy releases....
    [​IMG]
    Here are four episodes released by original air date...
    [​IMG]
    Men Are Messy
    Tired of Ricky's messy habits, Lucy divides
    the apartment in half -- he can be a slob in
    his half, but not hers.
    [​IMG]
    The Fur Coat
    Ricky borrows a mink coat for an act at the
    club, but Lucy thinks it's for her, and won't
    take it off.
    [​IMG]
    Lucy is jealous of girl singer
    Lucy, upset by a gossip column item that
    links Ricky's name with a girl at the club,
    dons a disguise and heads for the Tropicana.
    [​IMG]
    Drafted
    Lucy and Ethel, convinced their hubbies
    are about to be drafted, start knitting them
    going away presents.
    How is the transfer?
    All the episodes vary slightly, but all are
    pristine quality with all blemishes removed
    resulting in a rather sharp black and white
    picture. Paramount has certainly put an effort
    into making sure the episodes look as they did
    when originally broadcast.
    The mono audio is also exceptional, providing
    crisp clear clarity that I have never heard from
    broadcast TV. What you notice most is the absence
    of hiss in the audio, as well as less of a "shrill"
    type sound.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    As with the previous sets, the Main Menu is very
    basic, containing some nice artwork and a list of
    the 4 episodes.
    [​IMG]
    Next to each episode is an INDEX button that
    breaks down each episode by scenes. When
    applicable, a nice little addition giving the
    ability to directly access the song numbers are
    listed on the far right of the Index Menu. This
    happens in three episodes, Men are messy;
    Lucy is jealous of girl singer
    and Drafted.
    Note that there are NO SUBTITLES on these
    discs as we continue to hope Paramount will add
    them to future releases for the benefit of the
    hearing impaired community
    [​IMG]
    There is a nice little assortment of Bonus
    Material included on each disc. Let's take
    a look at the Volume Three material...
    Flubs briefly compares two Lucy episodes
    that seem to contradict each other as far as what
    apartment floor the Ricardos live on.
    [​IMG]
    Guest Cast gives a short synopsis of
    all the guests that appeared in this compilation
    of episodes.
    Radio Show #1 and Radio Show #2
    contain audio excerpts from My Favorite
    Husband
    , the show that inspired I Love
    Lucy. The shows you will hear inspired two
    of the shows included in this DVD compilation.
    The shows are played with original commercials.
    [​IMG]
    Special Footage contains an assortment
    of lost and restored scenes as well as scenes
    with restored music or voice: The "Christmas
    Tag" is a gem of a find! It's a Christmas
    tag that has not been seen since the original
    broadcast of "The Draft". Watch as the gang
    surprise each other in Santa outfits as they
    all sing "Jingle Bells." I am curious, however....
    who is the extra fat guy? The Long, Long
    Kiss shows you just how fussy the censors
    were back in 1951 concerning an overly long kiss.
    A Restored Scene puts a Philip Morris
    mention back into action. Restored Music
    has a few restored longer music cues added at
    the front and end of selected scenes.
    As with the former DVD sets, we take a look
    at how the original opening of the show.
    These are how the original broadcast episodes were
    first opened when they originally aired on CBS. You
    can't help but laugh at the influence the tobacco
    companies had on television back in the 50's.
    [​IMG]
    Volume Two continues with 4 more episodes,
    presented in Air Date order
    [​IMG]
    The Adagio
    Lucy hears that Ricky needs a dancer for
    the Parisian Apache dance number at the club,
    and thinks she can fill the bill. But her
    Parisian dance teacher has more than dancing
    in mind.
    [​IMG]
    The Benefit
    Ethel wants Ricky for the club's benefit show,
    but Lucy thinks a husband and wife team would
    be more appropriate.
    [​IMG]
    The Amateur Hour
    Lucy makes an unexpected leap into show business
    when she takes care of twins who are to appear
    in an amateur hour.
    [​IMG]
    Lucy Plays Cupid
    Lucy's neighbor, Miss Lewis, has designs on
    Mr. Ritter and wants Lucy to invite the two of
    them to dinner at the Ricardo's apartment.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    The Main Menu is not overly elaborate, containing
    some nice artwork and a list of the 4 episodes.
    [​IMG]
    Next to each episode is an INDEX button that
    breaks down each episode by scenes. When
    applicable, a nice little addition giving the
    ability to directly access the song numbers are
    listed on the far right of the Index Menu. This
    only happens in two episodes, The Benefit
    and The Amateur Hour.
    Note that there are NO SUBTITLES on these
    discs as we continue to hope Paramount will add
    them to future releases for the benefit of the
    hearing impaired community
    [​IMG]
    There is a nice little assortment of Bonus
    Material included on each disc. Let's take
    a look at the Volume Four material...
    There are two brief Flubs to be seen here.
    The first involves Ricky forgetting the marital
    status of her spinster neighbor, Miss Lewis. The
    second involves a musician accidently hitting
    his cymbal in a scene where there's no band.
    [​IMG]
    Guest Cast gives a short synopsis of
    the guests that appeared in this compilation
    of episodes.
    A single Radio Show containing audio
    excerpts from My Favorite Husband, the show
    that inspired I Love Lucy, is presented here.
    The included show inspired Lucy Plays Cupid.
    As with the former DVD sets, we take a look
    at how the original opening of the show.
    These are how the original broadcast episodes were
    first opened when they originally aired on CBS. You
    can't help but laugh at the influence the tobacco
    companies had on television back in the 50's.
    [​IMG]
    Behind The Scenes begins with an original
    text proposal of I Love Lucy. followed by
    still photos of the pilot's rehearse.
    Final Thoughts
    Once again I stress what a privilege it is to
    finally own a piece of television history on a
    format that not only presents this show with
    amazing clarity never before seen, but archives
    these episodes on a format that will never
    deteriorate in quality for future generations
    to enjoy.
    I am very satisfied with the added bonus material
    that has been included on these sets. These are
    rare looks at flubs and long-lost cues/footage
    that makes I Love Lucy brand new all over
    again.
    No question -- every episode must be owned!
    Release Date: Now
     
  2. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Nice Review Ron! I have read on more than one site that Paramount plans to continue to release all of Season One in the current format and then start releasing in Season Box sets starting with Season 2. I hope this is true.
     
  3. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    One minor quibble:
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  5. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  6. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    I agree with you Dan. Season sets all the way.

    I'll of course end up getting some of those 4/5 disc cases with custom cover art to put my Season 1 in if they do start going with season sets.
     
  7. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    I really don't see how it would interfer with the way that they would be put on your shelf. I Love Lucy in season boxes would simply sit beside the first season. The rest would be in a box, the others wouldn't. Hell take them out of the box, put the box in a safe place, and no one will ever know.

    It is going to be anymore of a concern then say it is for the Friday The 13th fans that have bought all eight DVD's from Paramount that don't flow at all. Original art of the first four with a banner at the bottom, and then four with F***ed up art and a banner at the top. See no difference. Both I live with.

    Box sets are the only way to go, otherwise, like you said, it will be five years before we finally get them all. That is longer than what I am willing to wait for them all.

    (By any chance Ron, have you heard just how far they are in the restoring of this show, like by season two, three, etc? I believe that it was just last year that Paramount said that the show was in drastic need and no date for release was in site, then suddenly the first two showed not long after that. Just wondering how far they are and to what extent.)
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  9. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Thanks Ron. I thought the case might be something like that with the limited involvement from them of late. You are right though, they look remarkable.

    What is amazing to me is the effort that is put into restoring some things, yet very little to none on another. While I understand that Lucy is more 'important' to them than say the transfer for Footloose, what has happened to the quality control aspect of the company.

    Like another poster said in regard to that thread...which as much money I have given to Paramount since the inception of home video as a whole, it would be great to take in some suggestions for those people that have supported them through the years on various product.

    Sorry for taking up so much of your time on this one Ron and thank you for providing insight.
     
  10. Michael St. Clair

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    It would be great if they switch to box sets after the first season. I could care less what the discs look like on the shelf!
     

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